GirlUp, a United Nations Foundation (UNF) campaign to help American girls raise awareness and funds for adolescent girls in the developing world, held its first West Coast pep rally after school in the Evelyn and Lee Combs Athletic Center on Friday, Nov. 5.
The Secret Service patrolled the campus throughout the day securing the area for the event’s special guest, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan, who is an active spokesperson for GirlUp.
After being introduced by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Her Majesty spoke about why the GirlUp campaign is such an important movement for girls all around the world addressing the nearly four hundred attendees with sincerity and ease.
“It’s a crisis affecting millions of girls: girls your age and how they’re robbed of their rights, their dignity, and their futures every single day,” she said.
Other special guests included High School Musical’s Monique Coleman, Olympic Gold Medalist Rebecca Soni, actress Amber Heard and American Idol finalist David Archuleta.
Archuleta was a surprise guest, and once his name was announced, a mass of girls screamed, swarming the perimeter of the stage with their camera phones to try to photograph the pop singer.
Attendees included girls from both public and private schools all over Los Angeles. Entering the Gymnasium, students went through metal detectors and security inspection, had their pictures taken and received a “passport” before embarking on a tour of informative and interactive booths representing countries from around the world.
At each booth, girls participated in activities meant to raise awareness about the struggles that girls face in other countries. For example, at the Malawi booth, girls had to try to walk with large jugs filled with water to get a sense of what life is like for the average Malawian girl, who walks for fifteen hours every day to access clean water. Other countries represented with virtual booths included Guatemala, Liberia, Ethiopia and the United States.
Amnesty International Club’s Co-President Maya Horowitz ’12 was the point student for the event. She explained the pep rally to faculty and answered questions students had about the organization. Horowitz thinks the topics that GirlUp addresses are issues that everyone should be informed about.
“We want people to be involved and to be aware. We live in a bubble. And even though our bubble is substantially bigger than a lot of other people’s, it’s still a bubble,” she said.
As the evening continued, attendees received all kinds of GirlUp gear including purple and blue foam fingers and pom poms. Once the event officially ended, girls lined up to receive complimentary GirlUp bracelets specially designed by Ivanka Trump.
Samara Kannike ’14 attended the pep rally and found it to be a very positive experience. “I think it was important for people to attend the event to raise awareness about how powerful girls are, not only in the developed countries but in the the developing countries, because we are all girls and we all can make a difference,” she said.
Although the GirlUp organization planned the pep rally, Nadia Hopper, Community Service Coordinator, and Miranda Payne, Associate Director of Admissions, helped coordinate the logistics of the event. According to Payne, the UNF came to Marlborough to host their event because an all-girls school would help embrace and promote the theme of girls helping girls.
“So far, no GirlUp pep rally has taken place on the West Coast,” Payne said. “I am proud of Marlborough for taking the reins and saying, ‘We want girls to empower girls.’”